Bangladesh: A Case of Silent Genocide of the Minorities- Bring the Culprits to Justice, Ensure Safety and Security of Religious, Ethnic and Tribal Minorities.

Bangladesh: A Case of Silent Genocide of the Minorities- Bring the Culprits to Justice, Ensure Safety and Security of Religious, Ethnic and Tribal Minorities.

Bangladesh: A Case of Silent Genocide of the Minorities- Bring the Culprits to Justice, Ensure Safety and Security of Religious, Ethnic and Tribal Minorities.

The Human Right Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) is gravely shocked at the burning to death of 11 members of one minority Hindu family, including seven women and a newborn (4 day old) baby, at the early hours of Wednesday, 19 November 2003. The conscience of the whole nation is shattered and overcast with the grim pictures of charred bodies and cries of innocent people of the locality published in the front pages of almost all daily newspapers of Bangladesh. The present Government of Bangladesh has utterly failed to protect the life and properties of the minority communities of Bangladesh, since they came to power through a bloody election of October 2001 when the minorities were barred from going to the voting polls. The Government machinery in a planned way has been in denial of any violence against the minority communities throughout the country. In many instances the law enforcement authorities and the police, instead of protecting the minorities, have collaborated with the criminals.

We, the members of HRCBM all over the world, appeal to the conscience of the UN, the European Union, governments of all civilized countries of the world, and human rights organizations to come forward to save the religious, ethnic and tribal minorities from the rages of systematic heinous acts of silent genocide in their own motherland. We, with deep anguish, bring below the relevant portions of the news of the burning of 11 members of the same Hindu family as covered by The Bangladesh Observer, one of the national dailies, to your kind attention.

11 Members of the Same Family Roasted Alive in
Banshkhali, Chittagong

CHITTAGONG, Nov 19: – Eleven members of the same family, were roasted alive in a planned plot of arson at Southern Shadhanpur village under Banshkhali police station early today. It was the worst case of arson in the known history in this part of the country. Approximately four square kilometers of minority-dominated village turned to a place of horror. Most of the villagers have apparently lost voice even to comment on the tragic incident. None could give dependable information regarding possible reasons of the arson. A group of men in the guise of bandits stormed the earthen two-storied dwelling of Tejendra Lal Shil shortly after zero hours on Wednesday. Although, the attackers posed like bandits, they engaged their efforts to trap the house inmates for materializing previously planned arson instead of looting valuables. The armed attackers ransacked the ground floor of the house and set it on fire when the house inmates went upstairs for safety. They also fired several gunshots as the neighbors attempted to rescue the trapped house inmates. … “The gunmen torched the house after spraying something inflammable inside after disconnecting the power link”. … … Locals alleged that police did not rush to the spot even after repeated request from the villagers. The police traced none of the gunners till the time of writing this report on Wednesday night. … … Bimol Shil (38) a village doctor and second son of Tejandra Lal Shil was the only survivor of the incident. Those trapped inside the blazing house were identified as Tejendra Lal Shil (70), her wife Bakul Shil (60), his son Anil Kanti Shil (42), wife of Anil, Smriti Rani Shil (34). Three daughters of Anil were Rumi Shil (11), Sonia Shil (7), Kartika Shil (4 days). Three daughters of Shachindra Shil – Babuti Shil (25), Prashadi Shil (17), Any Shil (15) and brother-in-law of Tejendra, Debendra Shil.

We are appalled at the government officials’ attempt, once again in a preplanned statement without any investigation, to conclude that this was a case of robbery instead of looking into the real causes and the roots of the criminals involved. We have noticed this attitude of denial and perversion of the fact by the present government again and again, which appears to be an ongoing strategy mapped out immediately after taking office to persecute the minority communities.

We condemn this and innumerable barbaric, grisly acts of violence perpetrated against the religious, ethnic and tribal minorities of Bangladesh in the strongest possible terms.

The Voice of Justice Cries Helplessly in the Wilderness of Chittagong Hill Tracks

This incident of burning 11 members of a minority family in the dead hours at night should not be considered in isolation. The persecution of religious, ethnic and tribal minorities of Bangladesh, that started pre- and post-general election of October 2001, has been continuing unabated. The Government of Bangladesh has failed utterly to bring the criminals to justice. Chittagong and Chittagong hill tracks, once a serene region by the Bay of Bengal, have been subjected to primeval, bestial hostility and, in majority of the cases, by the armed cadres of the ruling coalition of BNP-Jamat-E-Islami party. It can be inferred that this gruesome burning to death is just another barbaric, premeditated act of the dark forces that are slowly taking hold of the landscape of Bangladesh. We would like to draw the attention of the civilized people of the world to some of the gruesome abuses of human rights committed in the Chittagong region alone, and the absolute failure of the Government of Bangladesh to stop the program, protect the minorities and punish the culprits.

On 8 May 2003, Aratibala of Nathpara in Banshkhali, her mother and her only child were burnt to death in the late hours of the night by a Bangladesh National Party (BNP) cadre, Jahangir of the same village. On 16 May 2003, an organized gang supported by local BNP burned 3 members of another minority family in Potiya, Chittagong, to death. (Reports Shahriar Kabir, Chairman, Bangladesh Ghatak Daalal Nirmul Committee, The Daily Janakantha 21 November 2003). Srikanta Rakshit, an Engineer, in Chittagong, was abducted and brutally Killed on April 19, 2003 (The Daily Star. 21 April 2003). Ukhia Chakma neighborhood, district of Coxbazaar, was burned and the village was made bereft of men, and women were gang-raped. Principal Gopal Krishna Mahuri of Nazirhat College, Chittagong, a renowned freedom fighter, a revered teacher and a leader of the minority community, was gunned down at about 7.30 am in broad daylight by Islami Chhatra Shibir cadres. Buddhist Monk Gyanjyoti Barua was murdered on 21 April 2002 by ruling coalition cadres. Hindu Priest, Madan Gopal Goswami was murdered by the ruling party cadres and the Temple looted and desecrated (The Daily Janakantha dated 30th April, 2002). Five professors of the Chittagong University (CU) Chemistry Department, who are from the religious minority community, were asked by the Chittagong branch of an organization called “Islamic Solidarity of Bangladesh” to leave the country immediately. They were threatened with death, at any time and at any place, if they fail to leave the country immediately (The Daily Janakantha, September 5, 2002). The Government failed miserably again and again to punish the criminals.

These are just glimpses of the barbaric acts of silent genocide that were reported only from the Chittagong region, while innumerable atrocities are being committed everyday against the minorities throughout the country which go unreported. This cold-blooded genocide led by the dark fundamentalist forces directly linked with the present BNP-Jamat-E-Islami coalition government must be stopped. The religious, ethnic and tribal minorities must be protected.

Dhiman Deb Chowdhury
President, HRCBM

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